PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WJHL) — After the coronavirus pandemic forced Dollywood to remain closed for months, the popular East Tennessee attraction is set to welcome guests next week.
Both Dollywood and Splash Country will reopen on Wednesday, but season pass-holders get exclusive entry on Monday and Tuesday.
But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it won’t be business as usual. First, the park will operate at 50 percent capacity, but Vice President of Park Operations Eugene Naughton says that may have some perks for visitors.
“One of the most positive things that’s happened to us in this post-COVID world of operations – the fact that we have less people on property and the fact that that’s going to allow us to ride our rides faster,” Naughton said.
Both season pass-holders and general admission guests will be required to reserve the date they wish to visit the park in order to remain socially distanced.
Guests will also have their temperatures taken prior to entry.
Face masks will be required inside the park for guests three-years and older, although there are some exceptions. There will be designated areas where masks can be taken off.
“It will really give a guest and their family a chance to relax in a socially distant environment and take a break from wearing masks,” Naughton said.
Dollywood says most rides and attractions will be open, but there will be capacity limits. Restaurants that once had buffets will now have you sit and place an order. Attractions like museums, theaters, and children’s play areas will be closed.
There will be more than 6,000 signs throughout the park reminding guests of social distancing requirements. You will also notice portable hand washing stations.
Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival also kicks off next week.
“Ironically because of the COVID 19 situation, the day we were scheduled to close the festival is actually the day we’re going to open it,” said Pete Owens, vice president of marketing & public relations.
You’ll see around 600 umbrellas hanging over your head on Showstreet and over a million flowers all around you.
“And some incredibly detailed and large icons that are covered in live plants,” said Owens.
You can find more information about Dollywood and Splash Country reopening and the restrictions that will be in place on the park’s website.
“We really need special moments with our families and friends to break away from the realities of the everyday world,” said Naughton.